Going wild with rice – or grass?

April 29th, 2010 · Lisa · book review, Review, Wellness · Comments


Wow, we’ve been chatting about Becoming Raw for 29 days. I have really enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned and hearing your thoughts on the foods you enjoy, your sources of inspiration and the things that challenge us all in life. Today I wanted to share a new experience, realized through a recipe in this fabulous book.

I bloomed some rice. Not just any rice – wild rice. Which you probably know isn’t really rice at all.  Wild rice is a bit of a misnomer, it is actually the seed of aquatic grass and considered a pseudograin, similar to quinoa.

Wild Rice Salad with Pecans and Cranberries
I’ve certainly eaten wild rice before – it often appears on menus celebrating Canadiana as it is cultivated in the cool waters in the Great Lake areas of North America. But I’ve always had it cooked, never raw, sprouted or bloomed.

With wild rice’s incredible nutritional profile I was willing to try out a new way to enjoy it – plus its dark black colour adds great visual interest to salads and side dishes. This pretty pseudograin is higher in protein, folate, B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin and thiamin), calcium, iron and vitamin E then other rice varieties. 

This recipe is the opposite of those I’ve highlighted over the last few days. It takes a lot of time, but most of that time is spent with the rice hanging out in a hot tub – which you could do concurrently if you had access. The hands-on time required is very minimal.

 

So, how do you Bloom Wild Rice?
While some raw cookbooks instruct readers to soak and sprout wild rice in Becoming Raw they suggest using using your dehydrator to bloom the rice. Basically, you cover the rice with water and seal it in a glass jar. Then you put it in your dehydrator for about 24 hours at 115-118 degrees. If you’re not strict about raw ingredients, then feel free to cook your wild rice. It is pretty hardy (a lot more than kale and spinach, for example) and does not lose a lot of nutrients when cooked. The bloomed rice is fluffy and chewy – very similar in texture to the cooked “grain”.

My meals are not always so extravagant. Wild rice may be native to my area but it is more expensive in local stores then those grains harvested on the other side of the world. I am willing to invest more in ingredients that impart important nutrients or contribute an interesting flavour that makes eating exciting.
I balance those decisions by ensuring I make the most of the food I buy. In order to reduce the waste leaving my kitchen, this week:
  • I dehydrated scoops of yesterday’s purple pâté – to make a hearty addition to salads this week (dehydrating helps the pâté to last longer)
  • I made a green smoothie with leftover parsley, cilantro, cucumber and celery – and some sweet fruit to balance the green goodness
  • I had a nostalgic moment and enjoyed “ants on a log” for an afternoon snack by spreading leftover spicy pecan sauce on celery sticks and garnishing with organic raisins
  • I went savory for breakfast, one day I had broccoli and kale tossed in spicy pecan sauce on another morning I had this wild rice salad. Both days I felt very satiated. It was great – I really should do it more often.

Training Update:
I did a 10km run today. I went out slow, about 5:10/km but finished at 4:35/km and felt really great. It was one of the best runs I’ve had this month. I just felt really happy – I kept smiling. I think it was the sunshine.
As most of you know, I love to listen to podcasts when I run. Lately I’ve listened to a few race reports that gave me goose bumps while out on the trail. Jake from runlikehealth.com (a vegan runner) posted a race report from his first Boston Marathon experience. He had an amazing race and I really loved hearing the cheering spectators. Erin 337 is a Canadian triathlete who posted a 13 episode series that chronicled her training for her first ironman race. Her determination is pretty phenomenal to witness.


Tomorrow I will round-up the month of Becoming Raw – please let me know if you have a final recipe request from one of the dishes I have posted. I will also share my theme for May…I hope you will enjoy it.


What special ingredients are you willing to pay more for?


Do you sing or dance in public? On my run today I was caught up in the music I was listening to and found myself dancing a little on the street corner. It was a great moment. 


I went for lunch with my Dad today at Hibiscus. I was so happy to find a lunch spot that we both really enjoyed.  When I got home I saw that Vegan Backpacker posted a review of Hibiscus today. It made me appreciate how lucky I am to live in a city that has ample restaurants that cater to healthy eaters. What is your favourite local (to you) spot to take friends?

6 Comments

  1. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Never had wild rice raw yet, sounds interesting! thank for sharing. I do not sing or dance really that much in public mainly because I am not that good so I might scare people.

    Pure2raw twins

  2. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Raw/sprouted wild rice is on my "to try making" list. Seeing someone else successful with it, is encouraging. Thanks for posting!

  3. Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    This will probably come as no surprise but I'm willing to spend more on DATES, and also Tropicana orange juice. I grew up thinking that no morning was complete without a glass of orange juice. When I moved out on my own I switched over to frozen concentrate juice to save money. Now I treat myself to one jug of Tropicana each month and it makes all the difference!

  4. Posted April 30, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Yum, I love the sound of those savory breakfasts. Pecans are a local nut around here, I'll have to make some spicy pecan sauce.

    Interesting about blooming the rice in the dehydrator. I knew about soaking it, but I have never heard of the dehydrator trick. I really like wild rice (only had it cooked though). Like you it's a very occasional treat due to the high cost. I wouldn't mind getting the recipe for the wild rice dish you made.

    On a somber note: keep my area in your thoughts. I am about three hours from the coast in Baton Rouge. There is a strong wind from the south tonight. I went outside and told my Mom (visiting her tonight) I was certain I could smell oil. Awhile later she was watching the evening news and she called out "you're right!". They were saying on the news that it was possible to smell the oil. The devastation headed toward the coast is horrendous, all the poor nesting birds, migratory birds, shellfish. The coast of LA and Mississippi is still hurting from Katrina and not well off to begin with (environmentally and economically). I can't quite describe what this feels like – a monstrous dark entity bearing down on us.

  5. Posted April 30, 2010 at 2:39 am

    How clever to bloom the rice!
    Think I'm more likely to cook it though :-)

  6. Posted April 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Lori and Michelle – I probably did scare people with my dance moves but I was too happy to care.

    Jody – I hope you have wild success with blooming rice!

    barbee -I love that you gift yourself foods that you love. Your happiness is worth a little investment.

    MIndy – I've been thinking about you a lot and watching the reports on the news. I hope you and your Mom are doing okay. I'm holding you in my heart while things get under control.

    Antony-bloomed or cooked the wild rice is a great choice.

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